All posts by Robyn Flipse
At one time or another we’ve all experienced the jaw-dropping discovery that something we believed to be true, isn’t. I still can recall the unsettling moments in my childhood when I found out the truth about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy! If you’ve had similar situations where something that you thought was a fact suddenly became fiction, then you understand the power of myths.
If you’ve had similar situations where something that you thought was a fact suddenly became fiction, then you understand the power of myths.
Myths often begin as a way to explain things we don’t understand. Based on my 30+ years as a consulting dietitian I know that over time myths can become “common knowledge” as more and more people accept and repeat them. Soon, there’s no one left to question whether that information is true or not, and the myth becomes part of our reality.
Have you had your daily dose of the latest controversial nutrition headlines? Some days I feel as though I’ve had more than my share. When that happens, I like to step back and remind myself that even the news has to be consumed in moderation for me to remain healthy and sane!
One of the more surprising items I read recently had to do with a new research paper (about an old study), in which mice were given diets containing sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in the original SPLENDA® Sweetener Products and other foods. The research group that performed the study is a small institute in Italy with a history of publishing research that has been found to be unreliable in making safety assessments of food ingredients.
I was surprised to see this study published because it had been the subject of criticism when these researchers published an abstract about it over 4 years ago.
Many things in our lives are now easier thanks to the Internet. We can book our own flights for a vacation, check what the weather will be when we arrive and order new clothes before we leave. But finding good health advice online is not an easy task.
If you’ve ever tried to scour the Internet for the answer to a food or health question it’s more likely than not that you end up more confused and/or alarmed. With all of the differing answers out there and conflicting opinions, it's hard to know what to believe. This is especially true when it comes to misinformation about artificial sweeteners side effects (artificial sweeteners are commonly known as “sugar substitutes” or what I call “low-calorie sweeteners”).
Low-calorie sweeteners is a topic that has been particularly subject to misinformation that has led to myths. This is worrisome, because some people still ask: “Are there Splenda side effects”, “Is Splenda bad for you?”, and “Are there sucralose side effects?”, even though the total body of evidence shows that low-calorie sweeteners are safe and without side effects.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of anecdotal, or self-reported, information out there that gets passed off as evidence of a problem when scientific research indicates the “problem” is not, in fact, a real one.
We’ve all been told at one time or another that there’s no such thing as a silly question. If you’re a parent or a teacher you’ve probably even made that remark yourself. Asking for more information when you don’t understand something is the key to learning.
I have to keep this truism in mind whenever I am asked about the safety of low-calorie sweeteners, such as when I’m asked about the “sucralose side effects” or “sucralose dangers” (sucralose is the sweetening ingredient in the original SPLENDA® Sweetener Products). That’s because to me, the answer is simple. I know that low-calorie sweeteners are among the most thoroughly tested, and continually tested, ingredients in the food supply, but everyone else doesn’t know this. And based on all of the available research, they are approved in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people of all ages.
Since I still get questions from people about whether there are any side effects or dangers from using sucralose, I decided to answer them here for the benefit of all of my readers – especially those who may have thought it was a silly question to ask.